The rest of the evening went horrifically slow. My Uncle's words replayed in my head on a constant loop along with Viktor's two powerful words.
"Fuck power." His deep and rough voice combatted my Uncle's words with fury.
I found it strange for someone like him to say "fuck power". Someone so huge and much faster than a normal Lycan. He seemed to be swimming in power.
"Shouldn't we put ourselves first for a change?" Aela frowned.
I sighed, wishing it were that simple. "Aela, we're going to have an entire Kingdom to look after. Sometimes it's much bigger than that."
"It's not as hard as you're making it out to be. Our mate was paired with us for a reason, they'll help us." Aela was confident.
"If we ever meet him." I sighed.
I could only imagine how Aela was feeling. Human's and wolves were vastly different when it came to dealing with things. Being the daughter of the Alpha King, Aela's instincts are to protect her people by any means possible. But, she's also bound to our future mate. She couldn't betray him if she tried. Her own nature was in conflic with itself.
While I wanted nothing more than to protect my people, was I prepared for what would happen if I gave up my mate? A lifetime of living with someone who didn't truly make me happy. Sleeping with them, bearing their children, building a life together. It felt like a half life to me, a false life.
If my Mom were alive, she would have scolded my Uncle for putting those words in my head and the responsibility on my shoulders.
I wasn't sure how long I sat on the balcony, enjoying the silence and the cooling breeze that lifted my hair. I watched the sun dive behind the clouds and the garden below darken, absent of it's light. The sun would peek from the clouds and scatter hues of orange and yellow across the garden. My eyes remained on the garden, and Viktor's eyes remained on me.
"Arabella?" A soft voice called out from behind me. One of the servants peeked their head out of the balcony doors, giving me a small smile.
I peeled my lingering gaze away from the sun-lit garden and looked at the servant, "Yes?"
I smiled at her, she seemed new and wary of working in the mansion.
"The Alpha King is awaiting you in the dining room, miss." The young servant girl gave a small smile as she bowed her head.
I stood from the chair and realized how stiff I was. How long had I been sitting here?
"I'll follow you down." I nodded, closing the balcony door behind the three of us.
We walked silently down the wide corridor and I found myself thinking more about my situation.
"So, what's your name?" I smiled down at the girl. She had to be no older than fourteen.
I needed to soothe the conflicting argument in my head, and talking to Jules helped.
Her earth colored eyes widened and a relaxed grin fell on her lips, "Julie, but you can call me Jules."
"How long have you been working here, Jules?" I smiled back.
"Just a couple days now." Jules let out a shaky breath.
I chuckled at her frayed nerves, "There's nothing to worry about. I apologize ahead of time for all of my future messes." That earned a giggle from her.
"I've just never been around so many Lycan's before. I'm home schooled so I don't really get out much." She shrugged sadly.
I nodded, "I understand, I don't get out much either. The Lycan's around here aren't too bad. Just let me know if anyone gives you any trouble."
We walked into the dining room and I locked eyes with Dad.
"Thank you, miss." Jules grinned as she turned and left.
I sighed and sat down at the table. I wasn't feeling too hungry, so I picked around my food.
After a few minutes of silence my Dad cleared his throat, "Arabella, what's wrong?" His dark eyebrow was raised.
I rolled my eyes, he always knew when something was wrong. Now I just had to decide if I wanted to throw my Uncle under the bus or not.
I shrugged, "Just thinking over some things."
"What things?" His eyebrow was still raised. My Dad wasn't one to let things go.
I frowned, and tried to think of a way to express my thoughts without exposing my Uncle.
"Well, I know other rulers are coming to my birthday to try and win me over." I frowned, "I was wondering if I should let them."
My Dad coughed and took a gulp of wine. "Let them?"
"Yeah." I frowned, "Be with one of them. They'd have to come to our aid and it may take some of the stress off of you." I couldn't help but notice how tired he seemed lately.
Dad's silver eyes grew darker, "Your Uncle talked to you didn't he?" He growled.
"What?" I forced a confused frown on my face. "No he didn't talk to me."
"You came to this conclusion all on your own?" He said sceptically.
I shrugged, "Of course. What you both said at dinner yesterday stuck with me. If I can help, shouldn't I?"
The more I thought about giving up on my future mate, the more my stomach twisted into knots. I wasn't sure how other Lycan's did it. How did they muster up the strength to reject their other half?
"Arabella, this is not your fight." My Dad's voice was stern, the tone of the Alpha King.
I went to speak but he cut me off with a wave of his hand.
"Yes, I know you will take my place when I step down. But I have not stepped down yet, therefor this is my fight." Dad's voice held my undividded attention. "You will not sacrifice your only happiness for a war we can handle on our own. What would your mother think?"
His words stung, but he was right. I still couldn't let go of the fact that him and my Uncle weren't telling me everything.
"She would think I'm crazy." I huffed, taking a glass of wine for myself.
Dad shook his head, a small smile playing on his lips. "No, not crazy. Just confused."
"Thank's Dad." I smiled back at him.
His smile lit the room up and I couldn't name the last time I saw him smile like that, "Anytime, Bella."
"I do have one little tiny thing to ask you." I gave him a sheepish grin.
Dad lifted his eyebrow, recognizing this particular expression. "Mhm, and what would that be?"
"So Caroline invited me to this party tomorrow night. It's nothing big, but she wanted to know if I could come." I pushed my lower lip out in a pout. This expression hadn't worked on him in a few years, but there was no harm in trying.
Dad sighed and I continued, "Viktor will be with me the entire time! And you know I don't drink like that. We'll only be there for an hour or two, promise."
Dad remained silent as he lost himself in his thoughts, "Very well, but if anything happens you mind-link me. Understood?"
"Yes Mr. Alpha King." I beamed at him, ignoring his chuckle and eyeroll.
Once dinner was finished, I spent the rest of my time in my bedroom. After a couple glances in my direction, Viktor went to his own room.
I felt relieved when I noticed the bathroom had been cleaned and the door was replaced.
I actually managed to wake up on time for a change. Just as I slipped my tank-top off and put a deep purple bra on, Viktor knocked on the adjoinging door.
"Come in!" I called out, trying to keep the excitement and amusement from my tone.
Viktor stopped in his tracks when he noticed how underdressed I was. I was wearing my favorite purple bra and matching underwear.
His obsidian eyes slowly drug themselves down my body, igniting a trail of heat with his eyes. He then closed his eyes and turned his head, as if he were scolding himself for momentarily losing control.
My lips twitched into a smirk at his wandering eyes and I enjoyed the jolt of excitement that ran down my spine.
Viktor continued to look more attractive each day I spent with him, if that was even possible.
My curiosity had started out as a harmless game, but now it was a constant itch that clammored in the back of my mind.
If I kept my eyes on his touseled hair, my fingers would twitch with longing.
I slipped my clothes on and headed down to the gazebo. I felt relieved when both Shannon and Caroline greeted me.
I started my usual routine of eating breakfast in the gazebo. I could vaguely hear Caroline and Shannon chatting, but my attention was on the blossoming flowers that surrounded us.
Many of the flowers had begun to fully bloom, and swirling around the gazebo was a cacophany of colors and scents. Insects fluttered from flower to flower, enjoying the bright sun and gentle aroma of flowers.
"Earth to Arabella! Hello?" I was jerked from my thoughts when Caroline waved her hand in my line of sight.
I shook my head, "What?" I looked around for a few moments and frowned when I realized Shannon had left.
"Where'd Shannon go?" I frowned, plopping a grape in my mouth.
Caroline rolled her eyes, "She's covering for someone at work and had to leave. If you weren't so wrapped up in your own head you would have heard her." Caroline chuckled.
"Oh crap." I sighed. That was another quality I recieved from my Mom. We would both get so lost in the world around us.
Caroline shrugged, "She knows how you are, she didn't take it personal."
"I'll send her a text later." I sighed.
"Before you go getting lost again, what did your Dad say about tonight?" Caroline's high-pitched voice wormed into my head again.
I gave her a smirk, "He said yes, but only for an hour or two."
"That's plenty of time to get us both boyfriends." Caroline smirked, her eyes flickering to Viktor.
I rolled my eyes, "I'm not going there to find a boyfriend."
"Is VIktor going to be coming?" Caroline smirked, playing with a piece of her hair as she gazed at him.
"Duh, he's my body guard." I laughed.
Caroline stuck her tongue out at me, "Wear something cute. Short dress and heels, no exceptions." She pointed her finger at me and I laughed.
I had learned to successfully wear heels at the age of fourteen. While they weren't my favorite footwear, I actually kind of liked them. They elongated the legs and made any girl who wore them sexier and more confident.
"You wanna borrow something from my closet?" I raised my eyebrow at her. While our body types were completely different, I had some stuff that could fit her.
Caroline gave me a grateful grin, "Thank you! Plus we wear the same size shoe's so I'm gonna raid your shoe collection."
"That works for me." I teased her. She had been obsessed with my shoe collection for years.
"Be ready at 10 p.m. I'll meet you out front." Caroline chirped, "And don't be late!"
"Yes ma'am." I laughed.